Sunday, February 23, 2014

Pilot Review: The After

The After
Streaming on Amazon

There’s a lot to say about the fifth and last of Amazon’s five new pilots released for public voting to determine which of them will make it to series that I screened. The most notable thing is that it comes from Chris Carter, master of mythology and the occasional lone episode with “The X-Files,” who hasn’t had a show on since it went off the air over a decade ago. This show is big on premise but doesn’t pretend to boast strong writing or characters. Instead, its many personalities who get trapped together in an elevator and then stuck in an underground parking garage while sounds of doom echo from outside are representations of different types of people. Putting an older rich woman, an escaped convict claiming to be innocent, a by-the-book cop, a seedy lawyer, a prostitute, a mean Irishman, a clown, and a French actress together makes for an intriguing if not always intellectual stage, and it serves the purpose that it needs to for this show. What can be said very positively about this hour is that it stays suspenseful and involving for its entirety, which doesn’t suggest anything durable about the longevity it could have as a series. I liked it up until the final moments, since I found that showing a backwards-walking demon was a bit too literal for a pilot that had succeeded by demonstrating nothing more than uncertainty and chaos. The discovery that all the people in the group had the same birthday was a step in right direction, and the apocalyptic confirmation overdid it. I think this show could easily go downhill if commissioned, and I would have been much more enticed to see it without those closing minutes.

How would it work as a series? They all saw the demon, and they’re not in the house, so it could be messy until they managed to overpower the thugs and reclaim their rich digs. I like the casting of Adrian Pasdar as the smooth-talking lawyer, but otherwise the cast isn’t all that enticing. It really depends on how the concept plays out and if it remains just as enthralling and tense.
Will it make it to a series? I’m leaning towards yes, but I think just as many people hated it as loved it. Carter is a big draw, and this show could be compared to “Flash Forward” or “Terra Nova,” big event series that petered out quickly, and so if Amazon thinks it will be more of a long-lasting “Lost” or “Revolution,” they might just go for it.

Pilot grade: B-

No comments: